Bellator 128 Main Card Preview
Alexander Sarnavskiy (-375) vs Dakota Cochrane (+285)
Catchweight (160 lbs)
Why Dakota Cochrane will win
Cochrane is a tough fighter taking the fight on a short notice, which could work to his advantage. He has notable wins over Zuffa vets Jamie Varner and Joe Stevenson and pretty versatile. He engages either way though his strength would probably be his creative stand-up where he’s won by TKO a variety of ways.
Why Alexander Sarnavskiy will win
Sarnavskiy is the much better grappler even if he does love to stand and bang; the Russian has 17 of his 28 wins by submission and is a product of Reign MMA and Alexander Shlemenko. He’s 28-2 with his only losses coming against the current interim Lightweight champion, Will Brooks and long-time MMA vet, Rich Clementi. To think he’s had 30 fights and he’s only just 25. This kid could be the next Russian phenom for Bellator but even if he isn’t, he should still win.
Cochrane and Sarnavskiy will have an exchange; Cochrane may get a chance to hit Sarnavskiy, maybe even surprise him if he decides to engage rapidly. But the Russian is better and should wear down Cochrane and finish him on the ground.
Alexander Sarnavskiy def. Dakota Cochrane via submission (Rd 2)
Bubba McDaniel (-160) vs Emiliano Sordi (+130)
Why Emiliano Sordi will win
“He-Man” Sordi is just 23 but with 16 pro fights under his belt though it’s mostly against relative unknowns. The Argentinian has only gone to decision once (in a loss). He’s finished all 12 of his wins (8 by KO and 4 by sub). He can be an explosive fighter and has some bombs in his hands should he let them fly. His relatively unknown status could also work in his favour.
Why Bubba McDaniel will win
Bubba has more submission wins (17) than Sordi has victories; he’s eight years his senior and to say he’s playing the role of grizzled veteran in this fight is obvious. Bubba is the better grappler and could exploit Sordi in that area if he manages to get him there and keep him there. Having the Jackson camp helping you shouldn’t hurt either.
This fight was close in the odds for a reason; Sordi is a live dog being a pretty volatile fighter with many unknowns while Bubba, while on paper being the better grappler, has also shown vulnerability to submissions. Standing up, it should be Sordi’s game but once Bubba survives he can grind out Sordi or neutralize him enough for a type of decision.
Bubba McDaniel def. Emiliano Sordi via split decision
Michael Page (-425) vs Nah-Shon Burrell (+325)
Why Nah-Shon Burrell will win
Forget live underdog. Nah-Shon Burrell could be a rabid underdog. The Philly-born Burrell is only 24 but is already a Zuffa vet having gone 4-2 under his UFC/Strikeforce tenure. Burrell is a naturally gifted athlete and his defiant nature means he’s a fighter through and through. He’s coming off a loss to Koreshkov and this should add extra motivation if anything.
Why Michael Page will win
Michael “Venom” Page (MVP) has only had 7 professional fights but each fight has never gone past the first round. MVP has finished all his opponents in spectacular fashion – including taunting them, Anderson Silva style. Nothing less expected from a world champion Kickboxer who’s also trained in Karate and Kung Fu since the age of three. Add to that his huge frame. At 6’3” with a 77” reach, he’s got the frame of a light heavyweight. He’s a genetic freak and he’s hungry.
Burrell is a warrior and won’t be intimidated by Page although MVP has a knack at getting underneath his opponent’s skin. Burrell can try bringing Page down to the ground where he’s relatively green but Page’s ranginess allows him to see takedowns coming quite easily. Burrell was finished by Andrei Koreshkov whose range also gave him issues. Round 1 or bust for MVP.
Michael Page def. Nah-Shon Burrell via KO (Rd 1)
Eduardo Dantas (C) (-525) vs Joe Warren (IC) (+385)
Why Joe Warren will win
Warren is the “Baddest Man on the Planet” but he may have the biggest heart as he showed in his comeback win against Rafael Silva to win the interim title. Warren is a decorated Greco-Roman wrestler under the prominent Team Quest. He may not possess big knockout power or flashy submissions but his constant pressure and grinding mentality can wear out even the best as his wins over Japanese legend, Kid Yamamoto and current reigning Bellator Featherweight champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire have proven.
Why Eduardo Dantas will win
“DuDu” Dantas is Bellator’s top P4P fighter. The Nova União phenom is undefeated with the company (6-0) having finished his last three fights including current UFC flyweight, Zach Makovsky who he won the belt from. Now on the Bellator 128 main card, Dantas, not unlike teammates Jose Aldo and Renan Barao has a lethal BJJ game (6 submission wins) although he prefers the stand-up where his aggressive and unpredictable style has yielded 4 vicious knockouts. Dantas is only just 25, twelve years junior to Warren although more experienced. He hasn’t even reached his athletic prime and that alone is a scary thought.
Warren may have a slight edge momentum-wise as he’s just come from a grueling five-round war with the dangerous Rafael Silva. Escaping the jaws of defeat could give Warren the mental edge on top of his superior wrestling. But in order for him to impose his will, he’ll have to wear out and break Dantas and in a five-round fight that could be such a tall task. Dantas’s striking is also far superior as well as his athleticism, speed and size. Warren may have the dogged determination to pull off a momentous upset but Dantas knows this is his fight to lose and he won’t.